Obituary: I.C. “Cliff” Gronneberg

Posted at 1:44 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 15:44:21-04

I.C. “Cliff” Gronneberg of Bozeman, MT, November 9, 1917 – April 26, 2021. Cliff was born on a farm near Hannaford, North Dakota. He graduated with his BA in 1941 from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and his MN DIPL in 1945 from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Cliff was ordained as a Lutheran Minister in 1946. He served as a Navy Chaplain during WWII, where one of his assignments was to the Boston Naval Yard. He served as one of three chaplains and had the honor of being the chaplain on the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, that fought in the War of 1812. Later he was promoted to base chaplain. From there he was sent to San Francisco and Hawaii. He was discharged in 1946. Cliff married Ruth Horton in 1946 and they had six children; Ingrid, Jim, Mark, Mary, Paul and Krista.

Cliff served churches in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Minnesota. He retired at the age of 65 and then went on to serve as an interim minister for an additional 17 congregations throughout the Montana Synod, his last at age 93. As a minister, Cliff was known for his “faith, responsibility, vigor, experience, common sense, confidence and the ability to deal gently but decisively with conflict.” He was honored with the 2009 Spirit of Hope Award. Cliff was selected to be a member of an Honor Flight to Washington, DC, which was a great source of pride for him.

As a husband, father, grandfather and friend, Cliff was known for his love of fishing and bowling with the family, raucous pinochle bidding and games, his penchant for just getting into the car and driving to places of interest, and his constant quest for exploration, knowledge and learning. He never lost his child-like curiosity. He took great pride in taking care of his home, lawn and garden. He could fix/build/repair almost anything. Cliff loved to travel and he and Ruth led many groups to Scandinavia and the Holy Land. He loved ham radio and was enchanted with Yellowstone National Park. He loved taking guests for tours of the Park. He took great pride in being 100% Norwegian and was a past-president of the Bozeman chapter of Sons of Norway. He served the State of Montana legislature by serving as both Chaplain of the House and the Senate.

Cliff had a unique ability to really listen to people and never made them feel that their opinions were wrong just because they may be different than his, nor did he try to convince them that he was right. He was patient and kind. He had an amazing laugh, that would be filled with unabashed joy (particularly when he won a bid in Pinochle). He had a twinkle in his eye and was never afraid to laugh at himself. He was compassionate and took loving care of Ruth until her death when she had Alzheimer’s. Cliff was one of a kind, he stood for faith, joy, curiosity, serving others and family. He will live on in the hearts of the family and the many people touched throughout his long and full life, and his absence will be deeply felt.

Cliff was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth; son, Jim and daughter, Mary (Don) Chapman. Cliff is survived by his brother, Elmer of North Dakota; his daughters, Ingrid (John) Johnson of Idaho, and Krista (Dennis) Hammann, of Minnesota; sons, Mark (Julie) of Texas, and Paul of Minnesota; 15 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Friday, May 7, 2021 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, 113 S. Willson Ave, Bozeman, MT. Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 Graf St, Bozeman, MT. Interment will be held at Sunset Hills Cemetery after the funeral service. Memorials in Cliff’s name may be given to a Lutheran church or charity of your choice. Cards of condolence may be sent to Mark Gronneberg, 12320 Grosbeak Dr., Denton, TX, 76207.